didache - training in the way
The mark of Didache (pronounced “did-a-kay”) means “teaching”, “formation”, “training”. It is a mark of Christian community because the church is a school. In it we are taught the Way of Jesus Christ in the same manner that apprentices are taught a trade – through lifelong practice in repentance and confession, in forgiveness and reconciliation, in servanthood and sacrifice, in pastoral care and in social witness. Didache is less about learning a body of knowledge and more about becoming a new people. A congregation that bears the mark of didache is not a “come as you are, stay as you are” church. Resistance to the notion of conversion is dwindling in such places for these are communities in which people increasingly long to be converted from the anxiety-producing ways of the world to the peaceable Way of God’s kingdom come. In their desire to learn a new way of life – to “learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20) – such congregations evoke memories of the name claimed by the early Christian community: “The Way” (Acts 9:2). Here Christian education is not simply a matter of teaching children to become belief-ful adults. Here the whole congregation is made up of disciples – students – who are learning a new life as adopted children in the household of God. Here it is clear that once we have heard the kerygma – the good news – nothing can stay the same.